Armanino Blog

5 Quick Tips for Your Best Interview

September 29, 2014
Research the Company
Before the interview, dedicate time to finding out everything you can about the company. Definitely study the company’s website, but don’t stop there.  Read up on what may not be on their website via Google, Google Finance, Glassdoor, etc. Look at the company’s LinkedIn page and read the profiles of their employees, both those you’d work with directly and those in other departments that you would interact with in the job. Then, and most importantly, prepare for ways you can weave that knowledge into your interview responses.
Assess Your Culture Fit
Your resume may get you an interview, but if the environment and people at the company are not aligned with what you’re looking for (and who you are), the interview will be a waste of time for both you and the potential employer. Culture fit is a two-way street: you need to like the company environment and the kind of people who work there, and they need to believe you’ll be a good fit with them, too. It’s kind of like dating, everyone has a specific “type” of person that they fit with and who will bring out the best in them. Get to know what type of work environment works best for you by asking yourself some questions.
  • Do you prefer a highly structured workplace or one with a lot of flexibility?
  • Are you a suit & tie type or more casual?
  • Which do you prefer: Skyscraper in the city? Business Park? Small building in a rural setting?
  • What personalities do you work with best? Creative types who are always coming up with new ideas and changing things, serious thinkers who care most about analysis and detail, talkers who tell detailed stories, or those who use few words and just get the job done without a lot of chit chat?
Before your interview, drop by the office and take note of the environment, the people who work there, how people are dressed, the neighborhood, etc. Ask yourself if you feel you’d fit in there. If the answer is yes, find a way to express during the interview how you’d be a good fit in that environment.  If the answer is no, keep looking for a different opportunity where you know you’ll be comfortable and more successful.

Focus Your Answers on the Employer’s Needs
Remember that a memorable candidate focuses on the employer’s needs, not their own. Familiarize yourself with the job description, and know how your skills match with the needs and requirements of the job. Base your answers on what the company is looking for in an employee and why you’re the best person for the job.

Dress For Success
Show your interviewer that you are a serious contender for the job by dressing the part. Show that you care by putting thought and effort into your appearance. Make sure your clothing fits well and reflects up to date styles. If you show up in a suit you bought in the ‘80’s, or a hairstyle from the last decade, you will probably be seen as a bit frumpy and outdated. If possible, invest in some new interviewing clothes that make you look and feel confident and polished. Pay attention to the details - make sure that your shoes aren’t scuffed or worn, your fingernails are manicured, your breath is fresh, your hair is neat, your make-up is tasteful, your jewelry is minimal, and your perfume or cologne is very light (do not wear something that will linger long after you’ve left the building!) Remember, you are competing for the position, and you want to stand out from the rest – but not in a bad way! Plan your interview look in advance then ask friends for their opinion.

Send a Thank You Note
People often forget to express gratitude to each employee after the interview. A thank you note is not only courteous; it also reinforces the positive impression you made during the interview, along with your interest in the position. It can also serve as an encouraging sign to the hiring manager to move on to the next step in the process.
In today’s high tech world, the art of the hand written thank you note has been virtually lost, but at least an email thank you is still expected. Sending a handwritten note or email are both considered acceptable ways to say thanks, but if you send a handwritten note, make sure it’s in the mail within 24 hours of the interview, so the recipient gets it quickly. And just like your resume and cover letter, your thank you note should be focused on the employer and the job. Thank the interviewer for his or her time, include a few words that reference something you discussed, and then express your interest in moving on to the next step.  You can also use this as an opportunity to revisit something in your interview that you feel needed more explanation or clarification. Lastly, thank you notes should be sent to each and every person you meet with no matter if it’s the first, second or third interview with that person. They all matter.  Your thoughtfulness will confirm that you’re a candidate to remember and set you apart from your competition. 

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